Explore the most popular wild flowers trails near Iowa City with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

walking
1 month ago

Beautiful prairies, gets noisy with the Interstate being so close.

walking
4 months ago

The eastern trail head begins at the Mormon Handcart park and has several historical markers. Nice paved path.

Nice prairie land and pond. Well paved and little to no elevation change. A nice simple course.

road biking
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

I often take my road bike on this trail for a quick, easy ride. There's a nice combination of hilly forest and flat prairie portions of the trail.

hiking
Saturday, May 06, 2017

Yes, it is overgrown and muddy. It is also one of the few places in Johnson County (IA) where you can park and hike into a camp spot of your choosing! For that I recommend the trail that goes north from the parking lot trailhead and hiking through the brief creekside area past an old gate, the lowest pond/boggy area, and up into the prarie setting in front of the line of woods. There are some cut piles of logs if you look for them in the woods surrounding the terraced ponds. Otherwise, there are abundant dead/downed branches and trees if you want to make fire. I also recommend printing out a copy of the Iowa Code that allows camping in Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) if not posted "No Camping." The only signs in the parking lot pertain to "No Target Shooting" and "No Horses." I would leave your vehicle without too many belongings/documents, not because there's a history of theft here but just in case. A random county sheriff will probably notice a sheet in your window that says it's okay for you to camp there and leave you alone.

As for trails, there's more than just a loop. Everything starts and stops in the parking lot, but how you get to/fro is up to you. There are prairie and forest trails; many deer trails in the woods. No signage is present to tell you where you are. I plan on using a GPS app to map the main trails, but as of early May 2017, it's already quite overgrown. There can be hunters who hunker down in tents for who knows what and I've walked up on them unexpectedly -- for both of us. Also, during morel mushroom hunting it can be busy for someone seeking solitude. I've seen a troup of local dogs trotting single file along a trail (there are a few properties that border the Wildlife Area so I'm pretty sure they're domestic) who might not take too kindly to an off leash dog if encountered.

This is one of my go-to spots for a rare "wild" Iowa experience. There are plenty of places to lose yourself and a "quick hike" can turn into a few hours of exploring. I recommend a machete for chopping thorny invasive roses, Goretex boots for swampy conditions, and a camera for numerous wildflowers and wildlife. For the hot humid summer days I recommend cheap rainpants with ventilation for the tall wet and sharp grasses and thorny plants. It's easy to emerge from the woods and prairie trails with lots of scrapes and cuts and multiple ticks.

For such a relatively small area, Redbird Farms offers a lot for someone with open eyes.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

walking
Thursday, December 22, 2016

Easy paved trails with scenic prairie

trail running
Friday, September 16, 2016

Nice and easy run on a paved path. Expect a mild swarm of insects on the trail: many grasshoppers and crickets abound, and if you've ever had the pleasure you know they often jump into you, rather than away. Besides that, a nice little lake among the fields and trees; take the river path to get there.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Very overgrown but cool pond with lots of frogs. We'd go back in the spring before all the weeds grow in. Pretty nature.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Easy trail that is paved.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I have enjoyed the area for a few years now. I have walked and biked around Sand Lake. The flowers bloom from early spring through late fall. Birds and wild life populate the park and are fun to view. My grandchildren enjoy fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking,biking and chasing tumbleweeds. Love the park!

hiking
Friday, July 31, 2015

Boring flat urban trail. Better birding at the Res or MacBride. Good for elderly & kids.

hiking
Friday, October 10, 2014

Interesting but very natural setting, so "trails" are not marked and open areas often end with no real trail. We trudged for a few hours before we found a path to a frog infested pond (I mean hundreds! It was very cool) and a way into a wooded trail. Unfortunately we ran out of time.

road biking
Monday, August 19, 2013

Its not really woodsy as I like my trails... But all around not a a bad place for a morning run or bike if your close to the area.

birding
Monday, December 10, 2012

A great place for birding or a walk, jog, run or spin on a wheeled contraption. As configured now (due to ongoing construction on site) the wide paved concrete loop is apx. 1.9 miles around. There are two brand new paved parking lots, one on the north end and another on the south-east end. There is a boat launch and ample parking at the north lot. Under construction now (fall-winter 2012) are picnic pavillions, indoor restrooms, and what appears to be a visitors center or multi-purpose building.

The birding can be exellent here. Many birds including Finches, Cardinals, Indigo Buntings, blackbirds, woodpeckers, water foul, shorebirds, hawks, Osprey and Bald Eagles can be found here.

road biking
1 month ago

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

Sunday, August 06, 2017

hiking
Sunday, July 02, 2017

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